Friday, May 13, 2011

Piling on: The struggle to halt hoarding

White plastic busts of composers. A half-finished oil painting of a dog wagging its tongue. A red-feathered party mask. Animal figurines. Assorted pieces of pottery. An appliqueed flapper jacket too small to wear. Boxes of random tools. Piles of papers, personal and impersonal.

These items, some of which were "rescued" from the trash heap, surround Elizabeth - and until recently, were suffocating the Annapolis woman.

Elizabeth is a hoarder and so ashamed at the state of her apartment that she hadn't had anyone to visit for years. A turning point came this winter when she went to a support group run by a professional organizer.

Many hoarders don't believe anything is wrong. And those who do struggle to make changes. Elizabeth admitted that when she used to go to Goodwill, she'd give stuff away and then go back inside and get more..." More

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